PILOTS 2014: More Early Buzz

By | Friday April 18, 2014 @ 9:01pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

panic-buttonWe’re heading into the homestretch of pilot season as the broadcast networks are beginning to view and test the completed pilots, a process that will continue for about two weeks before the nets move on to making pickup and scheduling decisions. Based on buzz around town, here are the most talked-about pilots three weeks before the upfronts.

Related: PILOTS 2014: Early Buzz Edition

ABC_logo_2007Every year, there is at least one pilot that comes out of nowhere and surprises everyone. We may have that this season in ABC‘s multi-camera Cristela. It was not even supposed to be a pilot. Developed at 20th TV-based 21 Laps/Adelstein for more than a year, the semi-autobiographical project co-created by and starring rising Latina stand-up comedian Cristela Alonzo was sold to ABC last summer with significant penalty. But when pilot-pickup time came along, ABC quickly loaded on high-profile sitcoms, including the 20th TV-produced The Winklers, starring Henry Winkler, and the untitled Kevin Hart project starring Romany Malco. Cristela didn’t get a pilot order, alonzobut the producers, who also are behind ABC’s Tim Allen sitcom Last Man Standing, decided to take the penalty, which I hear was about $500,000, and use it to shoot a presentation. (ABC called it “proof of concept.”Cristela ended up filming a full-length pilot on the stage of Last Man Standing using that sitcom’s crew, led by director/co-exec producer John Pasquin, with very little time to rehearse and prep. Because it was supposed to be a presentation, Cristela was not budgeted to get a testing, but I hear 20th TV brass liked the finished product and had it tested. I hear the results blew expectations, with Alonzo, who has no previous acting experience, scoring higher than most stars in recent 20th TV comedy pilots, including Allen, New Girl‘s Zooey Deschanel and The Crazy Ones‘ Robin Williams.

Related: Bubble Watch 2014: Where Endangered Broadcast Series Stand

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USA Network Renews ‘Chrisley Knows Best’ For Second Season

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 9:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

NUP_158507_0233.jpgIn Chrisley Knows Best, USA Network found its first unscripted breakout. Now the cable network has renewed the half-hour reality series for a 12-episode second season ahead of the April 22 Season 1 finale. Described as a real-life family comedy, it follows Atlanta-based self-made multimillionaire Todd Chrisley, his wife Julie, and their five children who live a seemingly picture-perfect Southern life with everything money can buy. Paired with USA’s off-network family comedy Modern Family, Chrisley Knows Best hit a season high with last Tuesday’s episode,usa-network-logo pulling in 823,000 P18-49, 742,000 P25-54 and 1.2 million total viewers P2+. That was up 34% in  adults 18-49 and up 10% in total viewers from the previous week. Chrisley Knows Best is produced by Maverick TV and All3Media America, with Adam Greener, Jim Sayer, and Stephanie Bloch Chambers, Eli Holzman and Stephen Lambert serving as executive producers.

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Bravo Unveils 15 New Series, 3 Projects In Development, 16 Returning Series

By | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 9:20am PDT

NBC Universal LogosBravo Media has unveiled its slate of original programming at its upfront including 15 new series (two scripted), 16 returning series and three new projects in development. That includes Bravo’s first scripted comedy, Odd Mom Out, a half-hour series based on the life of author and fashionista Jill Kargman which captures the outrageous world of uber-wealthy momzillas of New York’s Upper East Side. It joins Bravo’s first scripted series, the recently greenlighted hourlong dramedy Girlfriend’s Guide To Divorce. The upcoming unscripted slate includes offshoots of Bravo mainstays Real Housewives and Top Chef. Among returning series, the network has confirmed a second season of Below Deck, a third season of Don’t Be Tardy, a seventh season of Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles and Season 6 for The Real Housewives Of New Jersey. Returning this fall also is a 12th season of the Emmy Award-winning culinary competition series Top Chef,  season 8 of The Millionaire Matchmaker, The Real Housewives of Atlanta Season 7, and The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills Season 5.  Here are descriptions of Bravo’s new series and projects in development:

Related: Oxygen Greenlights Seven New Series As Part Of Upcoming Rebranding
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New WGA Deal Contains Changes In Options & Exclusivity Rules, Increases In Compensation Rates & Cable Script Minimums, 0.5% Pension Increase, No Rollbacks

By | Wednesday April 2, 2014 @ 6:20pm PDT

Writers Guild New ContractWith the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers reaching an agreement on a new three-year contract late last night, the union this afternoon filled in its members  on what actually is in the deal via an email (see below) from Negotiating Committee Co-Chairs Chip Johannessen and Billy Ray out of the “complicated and protracted” negotiations ”The three-year deal features increases to our minimum compensation rates, increased contributions to our Pension Plan, minimums for subscription video-on-demand programs, increased residuals for ad-supported streaming, outsized increases in script minimums for one-hour basic cable writers, and a doubling of the theatrical script publication fee,” said the message to members.

Perhaps the biggest step forward in the new agreement is in the issue of options and exclusivity, a stickler for the WGA during these contract talks. Starting New Year’s Day 2015, writers who earn less than $200,000 per contract year will no longer have to be exclusive to a network or company except “during periods when the writer is being paid for his or her writing services” and  ”the Company may not hold a writer for more than 90 days under a negotiated option agreement without paying a holding fee of at least 1/3 of the MBA minimum for the writer’s services.” Additionally, Johannessen and Billy Ray say that the producers’ pre-talks request for $60 million in rollbacks from the health and pension plans, residuals and targeted screenplay minimums were “taken off the table.”

Related: WGA Read More »

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A&E Greenlights New Docuseries ‘The Herbert Brothers’

By | Tuesday April 1, 2014 @ 9:22am PDT

A&E logo1The Herbert Brothers (working title) follows five brothers who launched an advertising empire after creating the No. 1 Super Bowl commercial. A&E Network has ordered the new nonfiction series from Zig Zag Productions. Production is underway on eight half-hour episodes with the series slated to premiere this summer on A&E. The Herbert Brothers made advertising history when their homemade commercial won the “Doritos Crash the Super Bowl” contest and ranked No. 1 on the USA Today ad meter. The brothers took their $1,000,000 winnings, established an advertising agency in their hometown of Batesville, IN and continued developing commercials for major companies like Pepsi, Go Daddy and Shasta. Matt Gould, Danny Fenton and Mark Efman are executive producing for Zig Zag Productions. Lily Neumeyer is exec producer for A&E Network.

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E!’s Slate Includes Gucci Miniseries, More ‘Rich Kids’, New Kardashian Offshoots, Christina Milian & Lance Bass Reality Series

By | Wednesday March 26, 2014 @ 7:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

E!_LogoHeading into its upfront presentation, E! has unveiled its original programming slate, which includes three upcoming series: reality competition series Escape Club premiering June 8, plastic surgery docu-series Botched premiering this September, and the network’s first original scripted series The Royals debuting in early 2015. The network has picked up a second season of #RichKids Of Beverly Hills and has put in development a New York-based spinoff. It also has greenlighted a new installment of the Kardashians’ Take franchise, Kourtney & Khloe Take The Hamptons while developing yet another Kardashian reality series, Dash Dolls, about Kim and Khloe Kardashian’s boutiques. “E! continues to deliver for the pop culture fan through buzzy original programming, unparalleled entertainment news, and innovative digital initiatives,” said Suzanne Kolb, President, E! Entertainment.

E! Network Events - 2013While celebrity-driven unscripted fare remains a cornerstone of E!’s programming with new projects headlined by the Kardashians, Christina Millian and Lance Bass, there are also more fashion and lifestyle offerings, including a new reality series in the works toplined by fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg. E! also stepped up its coverage of Fashion Week this year. The expansion in the arena is in part because E!’s sister network Style was phased out, said Kolb. “We are stretching that muscle more.”

On the scripted side, the network is developing a miniseries about the Gucci family. Longform is a relatively new area for E!, where the network also has in the works another project, The Four Hundred. Because of E!’s tradition with covering events, like awards ceremonies, event programming “feels like area that would have great traction for us,” Kolb said.

E!’s upfront scripted slate only includes the Gucci mini and pilot Songbyrd, one of E!’s first two scripted pilots along with The Royals, which is still undergoing testing. “It’s a good pilot,” said Kolb. And while there are no scripted development projects announced today, “we are continuing the active scripted development pipeline,” Kolb said, noting that the network won’t wait to see how The Royals does before ordering more scripted pilots later in 2014.

E! also eyes expansion of its late-night block anchored by Chelsea Lately by possibly turning its awards night special After Party into a daily pop culture news recap that could air at 11:30 PM. Here is the network’s original programming slate: Read More »

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Jay Leno Reminds Bill Maher Of Israel As He’s Inducted Into TV Academy Hall Of Fame With Rupert Murdoch, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, David E Kelley, Ray Dolby & Brandon Stoddard: Video

LisaColumn__131015210634-275x198Jay Leno, being inducted into the TV Academy’s Hall of Fame on Tuesday night, said he’s glad he left NBC’s Tonight Show when he did The Television Academy's 23rd Hall Of Fame Induction Galabecause he was the oldest person on the show. Everyone else was 20 to 40 years younger than him and, while you may think you’re holding your own with them, “they’re really just laughing at you,” he explained. “You can’t be hip past a certain age. You have old guy gestures.” And when you make references to The Dick Van Dyke Show they think it’ s “a lesbian joke or something” —  and they don’t understand what you’re talking about when you say the time is “Half past 2.”

Leno told the Beverly Wilshire Hotel gathering his favorite book is Charles Dickens’ novella A Christmas Carol —  a searing indictment of 19th century industrial capitalism — and his favorite character in that classic work of literature, Mr. Fezziwig, who treated a young Ebenezer Scrooge like a son. Leno mentioned this by way of saying how proud he was that his Tonight Show was a place where people came to work hard during the day and, at 6, they went home to be with their family.

Related: Jay Leno’s TV Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speech: Video

Emmyslogo_newEven though he’s now “jobless and penniless” Leno still is a “fantastic stand-up,” said Bill Maher, who inducted Leno into the Hall, and the fact people are wondering what he will do next proves he’s still relevant, the HBO show host said. He described Leno’s more than two decades hosting Tonight as a drive down a highway in “some giant gleaming pristine luxury car with the competition far in the rearview mirror — except one time when NBC,” driving some beat-up clunker, “blindsided him and beat the sh*t out of his beautiful car.” Maher blamed TV critics for rewriting history to make Leno’s predecessor, Johnny Carson, out to be some guy who did a “rebellious, edgy, film noir version” of Tonight Show that by comparison made Jay look like a milquetoast. “That’s all bullsh*t — and I say that as a fan of Carson,” Maher said. Leno is the victim of “some bad publicity over the years” that he did not deserve — most famously how America got it into its head that “Jay Leno stole Conan O’Brien’s dream,” Maher complained, calling it,  “the most hysterical thought I’ve ever heard, in a business known for bullsh*t.”

“Jay reminds me a little of Israel,” Maher continued. “He isn’t perfect but he’s held to standard I don’t think anybody in the world is expected to live up to but him,” he said, calling Leno “the most Machiavellian and also the most morally upright person I know in show business. He will hide in a closet but never needs a confessional booth.” Read More »

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Universal Cable Prods Signs Deals With Steve Carell & Jessica Biel’s Companies

Nellie Andreeva

carell1bielUniversal Cable Productions has signed exclusive development deals with Steve Carell’s Carousel Television and Jessica Biel’s Iron Ocean Productions. Both companies already are  developing projects with the studio. Carousel has a an untitled drama about the onset of Hollywood’s golden age, focusing on actual Hollywood events and characters dating back 100 years. Iron Ocean is working on two projects. Pop Culture — written by Melissa Hilfers and executive produced by Royal Pains‘ Michael Rauch, who is under an overall deal at UCP – centers on a bachelor ucp_01living the high life in NYC who has a sudden change of heart after babysitting his nephew. He hires an aspiring actress to play his wife, and things get complicated when he finds himself falling for her. Moguls, penned by Geoff Moore & David Posmentier, is a half-hour workplace comedy about the eccentric twentysomethings employed at a family-owned Colorado ski resort whose way of life is challenged when the mountain is purchased by a corporate behemoth.

Related: Tom Lieber Departs Universal Cable Prods, Joins ‘Dominion’ As Producer Read More »

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USA Network Sets April 29 Premiere For ‘Playing House’

By | Friday February 28, 2014 @ 10:00am PST

usa-network__120824213139__121217230740USA Network‘s new comedy Playing House will debut on Tuesday, April 29 at 10 PM with two back-to-back episodes, immediately following Modern Family. Following the premiere, the series will resume with a new half-hour episode every Tuesday beginning May 6 at 10 PM. Inspired by the ultra-close friendship between Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham, Playing House centers on mother to-be Maggie (Parham) who asks her single and career-driven best friend Emma (St. Clair) to return home from her job overseas to attend her baby shower, having no idea what’s truly in store. Playing House is a follow-up to the pair’s NBC comedy series Best Friends Forever. They are exec producing along with Judah Miller (American Dad) and Scot Armstrong and Ravi Nandan of American Work though Universal Cable Prods. Keegan-Michael Key (Key and Peele), Jane Kaczmarek (Malcolm In The Middle), Brad Morris (Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World), Zach Woods (The Office) and Gerry Bednob (The 40-Year-Old Virgin) also star.

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UPDATE: USA-Russia Olympics Hockey Game Hits Record Viewership For NBC Sports Network

By | Sunday February 16, 2014 @ 12:20pm PST

nbcsochi__131202172913__140212145821UPDATE, 12:20 PM:  Turns out a lot of people like to get up early on a Saturday to watch hockey – a lot. The final Nielsen numbers are in and yesterday’s 7:30-10:30 AM USA 3-2 Olympics victory over Russia’s men team drew a record 4.1 million viewers for NBC Sports Network. The most to ever watch a hockey game on the channel. In fact, the audience peaked all the way up at 6.4 million in the last half hour as the two teams went head-to-head against their respective goalies in the 8-round shootout. That’s the most viewed half-hour in NBCSN’s history. Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 8 - United States v RussiaAdditionally, Saturday’s results beat the previous NBCSN hockey audience record of 4.0 million who tuned in on June 17, 2013 to watch the Stanley Cup Final Game 3 between the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks.  The USA-Russia game yesterday also delivered NBCSN’s best-ever daytime audience with 2.9 million watching as the channel continues it’s third straight viewership weekend day record of the Sochi Games. Read More »

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USA Passes On Pilots ‘Horizon’ & ‘Divide & Conquer’

By | Tuesday February 11, 2014 @ 7:12am PST
Nellie Andreeva

usa-network-logoI’ve learned that two of USA Network‘s pilots, drama Horizon and comedy Divide & Conquer, are not going forward. The pilots, both from Universal Cable Prods., are being shopped elsewhere. Horizon was a big swing and a major departure for USA, being a period alien drama. Written by Bridget Tyler, exec produced by The Walking Dead‘s Gale Anne Hurd and directed by Yves Simoneau, Horizon is set during the height of World War II when a secretary at the FBI (Ruth Bradley) becomes the only person standing between Earth and an alien invasion. Penned by Peter Ocko, Divide & Conquer was clearly eyed as a companion to USA’s high-profile acquisition Modern Family. It too is a family comedy, about four children on a path to adulthood and their parents. USA has four other drama pilots, Complications, The Novice, Rush and Sean Jablonski, and one comedy, Love Is Dead, as half-hour pilot Benched was recently picked up to series.

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PILOT SEASON: Which Actors Are Getting The Early Offers

By | Monday February 3, 2014 @ 6:00pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Pilot-Season-300x147We’re in the midst of the annual ritual of broadcast casting executives chasing their tails, also known as casting the leads of dozens of network pilots at the same time. As usual, many pilots go after the same names, resulting in a few actors holding a slew of offers thus bringing pilot season to a standstill.

Related: Primetime Pilot Panic Listings

jenconnellydianelaneLast year, Damages‘ Rose Byrne was the focus of attention with virtually every pilot vying for her, but she ended up passing on all. Actresses receiving multiple offers early on this season but not yet committing include Jennifer Connelly, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Diane Lane, Maria Bello, Hilary Swank, Octavia Spencer, Felicity Huffman, Kyra Sedgwick, Sarah Chalke and Elizabeth Banks. We already had a very elusive leading lady, Tea Leoni, locked in for a pilot, CBS drama Madam Secretary, with popular pilot targets Jack Davenport, Jennifer Carpenter (both on ABC’s Sea Of Fire) and David Schwimmer (ABC’s Irreversible) also spoken for. Several usual suspects, including Ellie Kemper and Natasha Lyonne, got an early jump by attaching themselves to projects (NBC’s Tina Fey/Robert Carlock series for Kemper, the Amy Poehler pilot for Lyonne).

Related: PILOT SEASON: Walls Of Vertical Integration Fall Down Read More »

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Black List Teams With TNT & TBS For Diversity Initiative

By | Monday February 3, 2014 @ 11:26am PST

The Blacklist logo (screenplay)This latest deal for Franklin Leonard’s script service comes about six months after a tie-up with Warner Bros, which resulted in a two-step WGA minimum deal worth about $93,000 for Tasha Huo, who was a Universal assistant at the time. Today’s announcement marks the first TV network deal for the Black List, which is expanding into episodic content in its quest discover writers from underserved demos. Here’s the release:

Related: Black List 2013: Full Screenplay List

TNTTBSTNT and TBS are partnering with The Black List on an initiative to promote diversity in the industry by identifying talented writers to develop scripts and concepts for the networks. TNT and TBS are the first television networks to team up with the Black List following the site’s expansion into episodic content. The networks will be looking for writers from diverse backgrounds for possible blind script deals and staffing consideration on TBS and TNT series, with the goal of signing script deals with particularly strong writers in the half-hour comedy and hour-long drama genres.

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PILOT SEASON: Walls Of Vertical Integration Fall Down As Orders For Projects From Rival Networks’ In-House Studios Skyrocket

By | Tuesday January 28, 2014 @ 5:15pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Primetime Pilot PanicIt was 1999, the height of the cold war among the broadcast networks. Following the 1995 elimination of the fin-syn rules, which allowed networks to begin producing their own series, ABC, CBS and NBC started building up their in-house production arms with one mandate –  to churn out product the nets would own. Cross-pollinating was considered almost heretic. Then in 1999, an ABC-based company, Jerry Bruckheimer TV, didn’t fold after getting a “no” from the network on its CSI pitch, instead setting the forensic drama at rival CBS. But vertical integration got in the way, with ABC deciding it wouldn’t be prudent to subsidize a rival by deficit financing the newly picked-up series — a $1 billion blunder for Disney as CSI went on to become a global hit. The last-minute pullout by ABC that left CBS scrambling put extra chill on the networks’ willingness to buy from the in-house production company of another network. (Fox sibling 20th Century Fox TV had long established itself as a major studio selling to everyone.)

Related: The Challenges Of Bypassing Pilot Season

ABC_Studios__121005011545Fast forward to 2014 when a whopping 10 projects from ABC Studios (5), Universal TV (3) and CBS TV Studios (2) have received series or pilot orders at rival broadcast networks so far, with pickups still underway. Here is how we got here. The ice among Universal_Television_2011the broadcasters started to thaw a little in the mid-2000s. ABC’s in-house studio landed another hit on CBS with drama Criminal Minds, which it stayed with, and NBC’s production arm fielded a couple of short-lived series including Worst Week for CBS and Sons And Daughters for ABC. During the 2011 pilot season, there were two pilots from ABC’s, CBS’ or NBC’s production arms at CBS-Television-Studios-Turquoise-Background-paramount-pictures-corporation-19259077-720-540rival networks: Weekends At Bellevue at Fox from Universal TV’s predecessor Universal Media Studios, and Ringer at CBS from ABC Studios. (Fox and UMS had an existing relationship via Fox’s hit drama House, sold by then-independent Universal Television just before its merger with NBC, while ABC Studios pulled out when Ringer moved to CBS sibling the CW.) Read More »

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USA Comedy Pilot ‘Benched’ Gets Series Order

By | Friday January 24, 2014 @ 9:30am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Eliza CoupeUSA Network has given a series order to comedy pilot Benched starring Eliza Coupe and Jay Harrington. The single-camera project hails from ABC Signature, marking the first series for ABC Studios’ boutique division. “Benched is one of those unique series that creates an immediate connection with the audience,” said USA Network president Chris McCumber. “The lead is played brilliantly by Eliza Coupe, who has undeniable chemistry with Jay Harrington’s character. Benched is a half-hour courtroom comedy that focuses on Nina (Coupe), a dedicated, career-driven corporate attorney who has a very public nervous breakdown after getting passed up for an expected promotion, and finds herself working as a public defender. Harrington stars as Nina’s new colleague, Phil, a tall, usa-network__120824213139__121217230740dark and handsome, if not a little scruffy, public defender and avid gambler. With Happy Endings alumna Coupe, Benched brings to USA a piece of the cult comedy series that USA came close to acquiring last year following its cancellation by ABC. Benched was written by SNL alumna  Michaela Watkins and Damon Jones who executive produce with Party Down co-creator John Enbom and Mark Gordon Co.’s Mark Gordon and Andrea Shay. Benched is part of USA’s push in original comedy series. The first show to come out of that effort, Denis Leary’s Sirens, debuts March 6.

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TCA: ‘Suits’ Influencing Young Viewers To Go To Law School, Not Show Ass Crack, Cast Members Say (Video)

By | Saturday January 18, 2014 @ 1:58pm PST

TCADeadline__140109155905UPDATED WITH TCA TRAILER: The cast and creator of USA Network’s Suits came to the TCA Winter TV Press Tour this morning and talked about the show’s impact on the nation. “It was a White House Christmas party a year ago,” reminisced cast member Gina Torres. “It was one of those things –  ‘Oh, my God. We are going to the White House!’ And it was like Comic-Con for lawyers… politicians2014 Winter TCA Tour - Day 10 start off as lawyers, or they start off as businessmen — they are running companies, or they have lots of lawyers in their lives, or whatever it is. And I walk into this thing, and whether it’s pages or whether it’s, you know, the congressman from this or that,  and, then, the First Lady’s chief of staff, says, ‘I love your show. We love your show’,” Torres said. Her thought at the time: “Is the First Lady, is Michelle watching the show?”

Suits returns on Thursday, March 6 at 9 PM after a triumphant third quarter in which it was a Top 5 program in the demo among all of TV’s primetime scripted series. Last October, USA gave the hit legal drama a 16-episode fourth-season renewal, and series creator and showrunner Aaron Korsh signed an overall deal with Suits producer Universal Cable Prods to continue on the show and develop new scripted series. Read More »

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TCA: USA Draws The Line At Equine Sex Acts, Says ‘Sirens’ Denis Leary (Video)

By | Saturday January 18, 2014 @ 12:24pm PST

TCA UPDATED WITH TCA TRAILER: “[USA] said ‘OK, listen, you can’t show the horse actually getting a blowjob’, and we said, ‘We know we can’t show the horse getting the blowjob,’ but, secretly, we were, ‘F*ck! We can’t show the horse getting a blowjob!’ ” Denis Leary told TCA critics this morning when asked the difference between making Rescue Me for FX and making his new series, Sirens, for USA Network.

Leary and Bob Fisher came to the winter TV press tour to talk about Sirens, premiering March 6 at 10 PM after the return of Suits at 9 PM. It moves to a single episode a2014 Winter TCA Tour - Day 10t 10 PM the next week, paired with a Modern Family repeat at 10:30 PM. The single-camera comedy follows three Chicago EMTs played by Michael Mosley (Pan Am, Scrubs), Kevin Daniels (Modern Family), and Kevin Bigley. It’s based on a British series of same name. Leary’s business partner, Jim Serpico, was approached by the British producers, who were fans of Rescue Me, wondering if they wanted to adapt it for the U.S. “We really liked those guys, and USA was pillaging the cast of Rescue Me and putting them into shows,” Leary explained. So they decided “we can make some money off these USA people,” he said. Read More »

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Susan Sarandon Signs With UTA

By | Wednesday January 15, 2014 @ 3:33pm PST

ARBI_00279.nefEXCLUSIVE: Susan Sarandon has signed with UTA only about a month after leaving ICM Partners where she had been for about 25 years. The Oscar-winning actress next stars in the upcoming Melissa McCarthy road comedy Tammy at New Line playing a rough-and-tumble grandmother and also is starring in and co-producing a half-hour single-camera comedy at NBC in which she stars with daughter Eva Amurri Martino. That project, produced by UTA-repped Le Train Train, recently received a pilot production commitment from the network. Sarandon is one of the best actresses working today, often nominated for Oscars and Golden Globes (and other awards) and critically acclaimed each time she appears in film. She has had a long and noteworthy career from everyone’s favorite The Rocky Horror Picture Show to her Oscar-nominated performance in Atlantic City to winning an Oscar for her performance as a nun struggling to help a man on death row in Dead Man Walking.  She will repped by a team of agents led by UTA partner and talent department co-head Shani Rosenzweig. She will continue to be repped by her attorney Jon Moonves.

Related: Susan Sarandon Leaving ICM Partners

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Comedy Created By & Starring Denis Leary As Middle-Aged Rocker Gets FX Pilot Order

By | Tuesday January 7, 2014 @ 1:30pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Denis LearyRescue Me co-creator/star Denis Leary is back in business with FX, this time on the comedy side. FX Networks has given a pilot order to Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, written by and starring Leary as a middle-aged rock ‘n roller who desperately wanted to be rich and famous but so far, he’s 0 for 2. The show will feature original music and occasional guest appearances by actual rock stars. The pilot, tentatively slated to film in the spring in New York City, fx_logois produced by FX Prods. and Fox Television Studios where Leary and Jim Serpico’s Apostle has a cable deal. Leary and Serpico exec produce. As is the case with most FX comedy pilots, Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll is being ordered under the FX Networks umbrella, with a decision whether the project would be for flagship FX or comedy-centric FXX to be made at a series pickup. “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll is a terrific script and concept with Denis Leary’s signature brand of comedy,” said FX president of original programming Eric Schrier. “Denis is a tremendous talent who played a major role in the growth of our network with Rescue Me, which was one of the most groundbreaking series of the last decade.” Added Leary, “I am very excited to be returning to FX where working with Nick (Grad), Eric and John Landgraf has been one of the best creative experiences of my life. Plus I hear they have much better swag now.”

Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, which has no connection to Eric Bogosian’s play of the same name, is centered on Johnny Rock (Leary) who, as the magnificently talented lead singer of New York’s legendary early 90′s band The Heathens, was on his way to the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. His best friend Flash was being called the next number one lead guitar player on planet earth. The critics loved them. Their live shows were selling out. But Johnny had a problem with booze. And coke. And weed. And pills. And cough medicine. And oh yeah – he slept with Flash’s wife. And his bass player’s fiancée. Read More »

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